God’s Faithful Relationship With Man.
Genesis 1-2, Matthew 1
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27 ESV
What does this passage reveal about God?
From the opening chapter of Genesis all the way to the first few pages of the first Gospel, the story of the Bible is the story of God’s relationship with man. It reveals the answer to the age-old question of how man got here in the first place. “In the beginning, God…” God spoke and the world came into being. With just a word from His mouth, the universe and all we can see was miraculously and instantaneously created, including the first man. Genesis reveals the indescribable and somewhat unbelievable power of God. What we read in the first two chapters of Genesis is hard to fathom or comprehend. It sounds fanciful and far-fetched. It comes across as a fairy tale or like some kind of ancient myth. But Moses penned these words fully believing in their veracity. He was not there to see any of it happen, but was divinely inspired to write a record of just what had occurred, having received his information straight from God Himself.
The apex of the Genesis story is the creation of man. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’” (Genesis 1:26 ESV). Man was created to bear the likeness of God. That doesn’t mean the first man was god-like, but that he shared in common some of the God’s characteristics or traits. Man was given moral discernment, the ability to think and speak, a conscience, a knowledge of right and wrong, and not only an awareness of self, but an awareness of God. No other creature shared these qualities.
Regardless of man’s starring role in the creation account, God is still the central figure in the story. He is the headliner of this epoch event, and without Him, nothing would have taken place. This is true even in the Matthew account. The very birth of Jesus was the work of God, not man. The genealogy recorded in chapter one of Matthew’s gospel gives us the family tree of Joseph, but makes it quite clear that he was the husband of Mary, not the biological father of Jesus. It was the Holy Spirit of God who made possible the birth of the Son of God. Joseph was told by the angel, “do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21 ESV). This was the work of God. In fact, the Old Testament prophets had written that this baby would be called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” God would once again penetrate the darkness and chaos of the world with Light. He would bring order to the confusion and give man a second chance to bear His likeness. In Jesus, man would not only bear the likeness of God, He would be fully God. He was the second Adam, the God-man who would live a sinless life and satisfy the demands of a holy, righteous God; as no other man had ever been able to do.
God created the world. God conceived a Savior. God created man and would recreate man in His image through the sending of His Son to the world in human flesh.
What does this passage reveal about man?
Man was uniquely made in the image of God and given the responsibility to care for and manage God’s creation. He enjoyed an intimate, uninterrupted relationship with God and was unhampered by sin. He lived in a perfect environment and had the unique capacity to communicate with God Himself. He had God-given authority over the rest of creation, and was a trusted companion of the Creator of the universe. Adam and Eve were commanded to be fruitful and fill the earth with their kind. And according to chapter one of Genesis, they had been successful. Here we have recorded the generations from Abraham all the way to Joseph, revealing the family tree of Jesus on His father’s side. What we don’t see revealed are the countless number of sins committed by men along the way. That short, seemingly unimportant genealogy contains a hidden list of sins committed against God. It also reveals the names of men who had failed to live up to the standard of God. Even the great men like Abraham, David and Solomon were sin-prone and flawed reflections of the One who had created them. Which is the reason God had to send another man, His own Son Jesus. Paul reminds us, “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45 ESV). Jesus was the “second Adam.” He was more than just a man. He was the God-man. He was God in human flesh, sent to do what Adam had been unable to do: live in perfect obedience to God.
How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?
As God is the central focus of the Bible, so He should be in my life. I tend to want to make it all about me. I want to be the star of the show. And I am not alone. For generations, men have been attempting to make it all about themselves. Even those who call themselves children of God have the tendency to see themselves as more important than the very one who made them. They mistakenly believe that God exists for their benefit. They view Him as some kind of cosmic genie who exists to grant their wishes. But the book of Genesis would remind us that God is the all-powerful force behind all that exists. He is the Creator-God, the very reason for our existence and the only one worthy of man’s worship. I don’t exist because God needed me. I am not here because I somehow deserved to be created. I am, like the rest of creation, the work of God’s hands. I am a created being with severe limitations and a genealogical track record marred by rebellion and sin. But my God has a plan. He always has had a plan. The sending of His Son was not a knee-jerk reaction or a quick fix to a surprising problem. God was not caught off guard and forced to come up with a solution to man’s sin problem. He had planned His Son’s coming long before the foundation of the world. He knew that the key to man having a right relationship with Him that would last an eternity, was to send a man who could live a sinless life and satisfy His holy requirements. Paul tells us, “Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come” (Romans 5:14 ESV). As we will see, Adam was going to fail in his effort to remain faithful to God. His efforts would bring sin into the world. But Jesus would prove to be the man who brought life, hope, healing and forgiveness into the chaos of a sin-soaked world. I need to never forget that God stands as the source of all physical life and the provider of eternal life. Without Him, I wouldn’t exist. Apart from Him, I would have no hope.
Father, thank You for creating man. But thank You even more for sending Your Son as a man. You are the only reason I exist and the only reason I will enjoy an eternity free from sin and the punishment I so readily deserved. Help me keep You alone as the focus of my life and the central star of the story taking place all around me. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men